As things begin to return to some degree of “normalcy”, we must also acknowledge that for some, things may not necessarily return to what many consider normal.
The pandemic alone has affected mental health in various ways. Being cut off from the things you enjoy, social isolation, grief, loss, and even trauma, have hit many throughout the pandemic that will not merely resolve after restrictions are lifted. In fact, many may not have had access to the proper support, care, or treatment that they may need and this may continue for some time.
For individuals who already had pre-existing medical or mental health conditions, we know that the pandemic has made coping with these conditions even more difficult. For individuals who may not have had previous concerns as such, many have and are experiencing high levels of adversity that can evidently lead to the development of more serious mental health conditions. With that being said, no one is immune to the mental health impacts imposed by the pandemic, as we discussed in great length in our previous pandemic blog posts. However, now that things are changing and more places are opening up, this does not necessarily mean the elimination of all the fear, anxiety, and depression many are faced with.
Change in and of itself is a great source of anxiety for many individuals. During the pandemic, we encountered change at alarmingly rapid and unpredictable rates, not knowing what the next would bring. While that still very well may be true, individuals are now faced with having to switch from the “new normal” they are finally adjusted to, to return to the “old normal”. With all of that uncertainty, it can be hard to find a sense of stability for some people. Some may fear leaving their home and contracting the virus after isolated for so long, especially those with pre-existing medication conditions. Overall, there a lot of uncertainty yet to come which is why we want to emphasize the importance of mental health as we make these changes. This re-opening of the world is what so many have been waiting for; however, for others who may be battling certain conditions such as anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, among others, this re-opening can feel incredibly dreadful and come with a lot of mixed emotions. Where ever you are in this process, we are here for you.
Furthermore, it can be difficult to process all the change that is occurring around us while it’s actually happening. Once restrictions are lifted, this may be the first chance someone has to truly process everything that has occurred, including trauma or losses endured. So, some may think that returning to the way things used to be will eliminate these worries, but we may start to see an increase cases of anxiety, depression, and PTSD because these tough situations may not truly hit people until sometime after they occurred. This is especially true for those struggling with pre-existing mental health concerns.
All in all, we cannot over-emphasize the importance of maintaining your mental health and supporting others during these challenging times. If you are someone who is struggling, know that it is okay to reach out for support. It is not standard to adapt to these changes over night go at your own pace, practice self-care, and seek help when needed. If you know someone else who may be struggling, there are many ways you can support them and it all starts by listening and understanding that not everyone is in the same boat.